My first indie film as a hands-on creative writer/producer was Goodbye America starring James Brolin, Michael York, and Rae Dawn Chong and Filipino stars Nanette Medved, Alma Concepcion, Angel Aquino, and Raymond Bagatsing. My co-writer in the endeavor was Bob Couttie, who has written an intriguing account of the how the film started and our experience making it. Here it is:
GOODBYE AMERICA DIARY
By Bob Couttie
Goodbye America began with an idea by Producer Mike Sellers as far back a I can remember. We’d met on the set of Rage, a thump’n throttle movie starring Richard Norton, Karen Moncrieffe and Tetchy Agbayani in 1991. In those days he had his office in Examiner Street, Manila. I and another Scriptwriter, Michael Cassey, used to footle around on a couple of Mac Classics working out story lines and diving out onto the balcony to smoke – Mike’s office/house was a no-smoking zone.
I`d already acquired a track record with scripts for BBC Radio in the UK in the mid-1980s but hadn’t been able to segue into the relatively closed shops of TV and Film (Yeah, yeah, yeah – `We’re always looking for new scripts and new writers’, put that in the same file as `The cheque’s in the mail’, `Your mother’s cooking is great’, `Honest, it’s only a Cold Sore’ and `There will be no cover up’)
One result was an action adventure script called Undertow, which went into the archives.
Mike wanted to make a movie that would somehow appeal to an international audience and the domestic audience in the Philippines and say something about both cultures..
The problem was that US audiences in particular, neither knew nor cared about the Philippines, it isn’t perceived as exotic or `sexy’. So even Mike’s most basic concept didn’t get much applause in LA. Most of our efforts in the early days were based on hiding the Philippines.
Read more: Bob Couttie on Goodbye America